Europe is fast becoming a mature market for Chinese outbound travelers, who are now undertaking repeated trips to Europe, and are focusing on more in-depth experiences. At the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market (COTTM) in Beijing on 16 April, Hu Hui, Business Director – Product R&D Centre for Chinese travel agency Caissa Travel Management, presented the key trends the travel agency has identified about Chinese tourism to Europe, particularly in the family travel segment.
Founded in Beijing in 1993, Caissa is one of China’s leading tour operators, as well as one of its largest, focusing particularly on wholesale outbound travel to European countries.
According to Caissa’s presentation at the Partnership in European Tourism conference at COTTM, the four key trends currently dominating European tourism are
1. Chinese outbound travelers are moving beyond Western Europe and are venturing out to the Nordic countries, to Eastern Europe and the Balkans, which have been increasingly popular in the past couple of years, following more direct flights and more relaxed visa policies.
2. A large percentage of tourists are repeat visitors, who are now looking for more diverse cultural experiences, rather than focusing on sightseeing.
3. Tourists are increasingly choosing a one-country or regional itineraries over a multi-country trip, to experience in-depth tourism. Trips which once combined Portugal and Spain are now broken up into two separate itineraries of Spain and Portugal.
4. Semi-independent travelers are increasing in numbers and are demanding tailored itineraries fitting their needs and interests. Some of Caissa’s new products feature 10-day trips to Mont Blanc, as well as wine-themed itineraries with stops in the Bordeaux and Champagne regions.
Hu Hui noted that family travel is also a growing segment of travel. Another new trend for family travel, as noted by Caissa, is the popularity of a few families joining up to travel together as a group.
Families’ travel needs vary significantly based on the age of their children:
– Families with kids younger than 3 years of age are more likely to choose a beach destination.
– Families with kids between the ages of 6 and 11 opt for active tourism, with a preference for outdoor activities.
– Families with kids between the ages of 12-16 often take their teenagers on art and study tours to countries such as France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.